Federal judge dismisses Viacom copyright case against Google's YouTube

[JURIST] A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a suit [opinion, PDF] filed [JURIST report] by US entertainment company Viacom against Google, accusing if of allowing copyrighted material on its YouTube service [corporate websites] without permission. Judge Louis Stanton of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] issued the summary judgment, stating that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) [text, PDF] requires Google and YouTube to have more than a "general awareness" that videos might be posted illegally in order to be found liable. Stanton held that the DMCA provides a "safe harbor" period for the removal of copyrighted content after notice is given of the violation and stated that there was no dispute that when YouTube was given the notices by Viacom, it removed the material:

Mere knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general is not enough. The provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such activity. ... [W]hen they received specific notice that a particular item infringed a copyright, they swiftly removed it. It is uncontroverted that all the clips in suit are off the YouTube website, most having been removed in response to DMCA takedown notices. ... [Google] is thus protected from liability.
Google called the judgment an "important victory" [press release] for individuals who use file-sharing services like YouTube "to communicate and share experiences with each other." Viacom stated that the ruling is "fundamentally flawed" [press release] and is contrary to the language of the DCMA and recent Supreme Court decisions. Viacom will appeal the decision.

Google is also facing several potential privacy lawsuits for collecting and storing data obtained over unsecured wireless networks for its Street View maps [website]. The UK, Australia and Canada [JURIST reports] have all launched investigations into Google's unsecured Wi-Fi data collection to determine whether Google has violated the countries' privacy laws. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal [official profile] announced Monday that he will lead a multistate investigation [JURIST report] against Google and requested additional detailed information from the company on its data harvesting procedures. Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have also asked Google to retain data collected in those respective nations. In a letter [text, PDF] sent last week to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee [official website], Google claimed that its collection of private information was inadvertent and did not violate any laws [JURIST report].

 

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